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Literature 3B: British Literature 1678-1798



Literature 3B introduces students to British literature from the final decades of the seventeenth century until the end of the eighteenth century. The works in question will be read within various historical contexts and will be discussed in light of key eighteenth-century concepts such as enlightenment, reasonableness, decorum, the self, faith, the public sphere, sensibility, the imagination and revolution. Because the novel has become such a dominant literary genre in our time, extra attention will be paid to the development of this genre in the eighteenth century. Other topics are stylistic and thematic developments from neoclassicism through sensibility towards romanticism.

Course objectives

By the end of the course students will have gained a general knowledge of the major genres, themes and stylistic features of literature from the period 1678-1798, within their historical contexts.

Time table

Click here for the timetable

Teaching method

Tutorial: divided into a thirty-minute introductory lecture followed by a short break and a one hour discussion period.

Test method

A 2000-word essay presented according to the MLA stylesheet (25%) and a written exam (75%).


A blackboard site will be available to students one week before the start of the teaching semester.

Required reading


  • John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress (Oxford World’s Classics).

  • Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (Penguin Classics).

  • Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews (Penguin Classics). .

  • Stephen Greenblatt et al (eds.), The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 8th edition, Vol. I and II; or, Volume C en D (New York/London: Norton, 2005).

  • Samuel Richardson, Pamela (Penguin Classics).

  • Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey (Penguin Classics).

  • Ann Radcliffe, A Sicilian Romance (Oxford World’s Classics).

Strongly recommended reference works:

  • Joseph Gibaldi, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th edition (MLA).

  • Martin Gray, A Dictionary of Literary Terms (Longman).


Students can register through U-twist before 15 July. After 15 July students can only register through the Departmental Office.


English Department, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102c. Phone: 071 527 2144, or by mail:


The reading for Week 1 is: part 1 of Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress (Oxford World’s Classics).